The Greek Theater
Los Angeles, CA
October 24, 2000
By Rob Evanoff
Only two weeks ago the announcement came over the airwaves again and again, Pearl Jam would be playing at the legendary and beautifully majestic Greek Theater, which has a capacity of about 4000. The theater is located up in the lush hills of Griffith Park, which borders the hills of Hollywood and is located amidst a forest of nature’s finest trees. The Greek has been the bed for a host of live releases including Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live at the Greek and Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night. Pearl Jam Live at the Greek would now join this esteemed list since it was also announced that the band would be recording the performance for a live video release.
Tickets were not easy to come by, ticket brokers had a limited supply that were snapped up for $250 a pop, and the show practically sold out before the tickets went on sale as local radio gave free pairs away for an entire week. The onslaught of these freebies were magnified with the enormous number of comp tickets for VIPs and I was warned to have a messenger pick up my tickets the day of the show to avoid long lines at will call, as EVERYONE would be on the guest list.
So the 24th arrived and off we went to the BIG show. We jumped in a cab and told the driver, “The Greek”. He popped in Bad Company’s first album on cassette and asked “Who's Playing?” “Pearl Jam!” “Who?” he retorted. Were we in time devolution? He wasn’t impressed when we explained that they were arguably the biggest rock band in the world during the 90’s. After rattling off titles of saturated radio hits, he finally claimed to have heard “Daughter” before. All of this came after he had proudly stated that he was an American cab driver and a New York cabbie transplant to boot. Yes, a head scratcher.
We arrived and The Greek was bustling with scensters and a hodgepodge of post modern socio-political music evangelist wannabees who seemed intrigued to peruse info on Nader and The Green Party, which Pearl Jam supports. The show soon began at 8:45 PM and in typical PJ fashion, the band sauntered on to the stage with little fanfare and launched into their set. They blasted through a half dozen songs before the first acknowledgement of the night, Eddie quipped “It feels as if we’re playing in a backyard, except that it’s the devil’s backyard”. Huh?
And with that, the band solidly flexed their classic rock muscles for the next two hours covering their career by breaking out favorites from yesteryear including “Rear View Mirror,” “Daughter” and “Animal” from VS, igniting the audience with “Even Flow” and “Black” from the seminal Ten and “Not For You” and “Better Man” from Vitalogy. And as with most shows in Los Angeles where it’s perceived to be unhip to actually be a fan or to enjoy yourself, surprisingly the girl seated next to us seemed to be lost in her own drama as she modified the chorus and boisterously sang “Butty Man” instead. A precious moment to witness as if her whole world revolved around the meaning of the lyrics to this song. Apparently, this “Man” had left her at the altar with nothing more than a memory in her hands. “She now dreams in color, she dreams in Red!”
Though the repertoire changes from night to night as is evidenced by the recent release of 25 CDs from Pearl Jam’s European Summer Tour, the set list definitely favors their latest release Binaural . The band drew favorable response to songs such as “Breakerfall”, “God’s Dice,” “Light Years,” “Evacuation,” “Nothing As it Seems” and a burning version of “Insignificance” that recalled the best of Crazy Horse.